154th meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (Munich, 13 and 14 December 2017)
The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 154th meeting in Munich on 13 and 14 December 2017 under the chairmanship of Christoph ERNST (DE).
The Administrative Council noted the activities reports given by its Chairman and by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI. In the ensuing discussion the Council welcomed the very positive results the Office was expecting for 2017, praised the management and staff for their achievements and encouraged all to progress in terms of social dialogue. The Council further noted the oral reports by the chairpersons of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) and the Budget and Finance Committee on their recent meetings.
A series of elections and appointments was then on the agenda:
- the Council elected Gerard BARRETT (IE) as deputy Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. It further appointed Viktor LUSZCZ (HU) to the Boards of Appeal Committee;
- in the case of the RFPSS Supervisory Board in its new composition, the Council appointed with effect from 1 January 2018 its two own representatives and one alternate, as well as the four external expert members and one alternate, including the new Chairman Michel LIND;
- the Council also decided on appointments to the new Appeals Committee of its Chair, Paul MAHONEY, the two deputy Chairs and two further members. It also appointed the Chairman, Markus MOHLER, and the members of the Council Disciplinary Committee, all with effect from 1 January 2018;
- and finally, the Council decided on a number of appointments and re-appointments as technically qualified members of the Boards of Appeal and as external legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board.
In respect of legal affairs the Council adopted in particular the Office proposals on fees for 2018-2020 under the existing working agreements on search co-operation.
Turning to personnel policy matters the Council conducted a general debate on the orientation paper submitted by the Office, regarding modernisation of the employment framework. It supported the principle of introducing more flexibility and expected the strategic, legal and financial outcomes of the discussion to be reflected in the concrete assessments and proposed modalities the Office would submit in early 2018.
The Council also addressed a number of financial matters. Firstly, it unanimously approved the draft budget for 2018 as well as the budget estimates for the four following years. In particular it endorsed the related Office proposals regarding a substantial reduction in PCT fees and online filing fees and the increase in the appeal fee. It also approved the yearly outcome of applying the salary method and further measures in the field of pensions.
In a closed session, the Council took a final decision in a disciplinary case against an employee appointed by the Council - a case which had attracted significant public attention. This decision was taken with due regard to all relevant elements. The Council expressed its satisfaction at having closed the case. In particular, it underlined its expectation that now - after a long period of intense debate - legal peace would be restored.